Black Lives Matter. Words alone cannot express the gravity of this moment. We see the need for action. We at CU Engage are looking internally and working externally to act in impactful ways to dismantle anti-Black racism and act in solidarity with and support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Through our programs, classes, and research, this summer we are taking steps to address anti-blackness and work for racial justice more broadly. We will use this page to share our approach and the outcomes of our work.
Actions by CU Engage's programs:
The Public Achievement program supported students & teachers to write letters to the BVSD School Board to decriminalize Black and Brown students through NAACP’s campaign to remove School Resource Officers (SRO’s). This is a step to stop the school-to-prison & school-to-deportation pipelines. Four people with PA connections (a BVSD teacher, alumni, and youth worker) spoke at the June 9 Board Meeting.
In response to a request from Padres & Jóvenes Unidos, our community partner in Denver, Colorado, the Research Hub for Youth Organizing developed a summary of research about the school-to-prison pipeline and evidence-based alternatives to policing in schools. The summary was submitted in support of the School Board resolution that was unanimously approved by the Board of Education to end its contract with the Denver Police Department. The Research Hub also completed rapid response fact sheets about how much school districts spend on policing compared to nurses, social workers, and guidance counselors in three cities. The sheet was created in response to a request from partners at the Center for Popular Democracy, which supports a network of youth organizing groups across the United States. These fact sheets are being used by youth and community organizers who are part of the CPD network to advocate for school budgets that defund police and prioritize restorative practices and other evidence-based alternatives.
INVST Community Studies has hosted 63 people in their Antiracism Study Group on Zoom. They meet weekly to read and discuss Ibram Kendi's “How to Be an Antiracist”. INVST students, instructors (past & present), advisors, and staff from CU Boulder who saw the study group advertised on the Norlin resources page. The study group has also had therapists from as far away as Albuquerque, NM joining. “Most special, while INVST instructors Sam Bullington & myself facilitate weekly & open & close the big group, we then break out into smaller groups of 6-9 and those discussions are facilitated by current INVST students & INVST alumni” said Sabrina Sideris, Program Director of INVST at CU Boulder. “We are in process, deepening our learning, and we're glad to have the structure & space this summer to do what we do best -- gather together & learn about social, racial and economic justice & fairness.”
CU Dialogues is working with units that are interested in having their staff or students participate in dialogue around race, anti-racism, and racial justice. They are working to build out capacity and understanding of dialogues within those programs with the hope of building out dialogue processes within interested units rather than single dialogue experiences. In this moment of engaging in inclusive practices online during COVID-19 and the movement for racial justice, there is a need to hold space for students to have a social presence as this is fundamental to creating inclusion and equity in these online spaces. Dialogic experiences are sharing experiences. Making space and having a social presence involves students having an opportunity in an online medium to share. To request a dialogue in your community or classroom, visit https://www.colorado.edu/cudialogues/request-dialogue-0.